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Connecticut Update – February 10, 2022

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Start of the 2022 CT Legislative Session 

Our Apprentice Organizer, Sir Gaston, and member at the Capital for the Start of Session, 2.9.2022
Yesterday marked the start of the 2022 legislative session. Ahead of the start of the session, we issued a press release on Tuesday calling on the elected officials to pass real reforms that address mass incarceration and systemic racism this session. Communities of color in Connecticut – especially Black and Latinx people – continue to be targeted by systemic racism, mass criminalization, and mass incarceration. Instead of investing in solutions that actually produce safety and justice, Connecticut spends millions every year to arrest and lock people up – disproportionately people of color — while failing to invest enough into the basic needs of every community in our state – housing, health care, education, jobs.

This is why we are calling on the General Assembly and Governor Lamont to cutshutand invest:

  • Cut the number of people incarcerated in jails and prisons, cut the number of people on probation and parole, cut the number of correctional staff, cut down the funding to the Department of Corrections
  • Shut down more prisons
  • Invest in the communities most harmed by systemic racism and mass incarceration, into housing, healthcare, education, jobs, and more.

 

Read our full Start of the 2022 Legislative Session press release here.

We were also at the Capital yesterday with Stop Solitary CT for an action to demand Governor Lamont and the General Assembly pass the PROTECT Act, which would significantly reduce solitary confinement in CT and support the wellbeing of incarcerated people. Last year, the PROTECT Act passed both chambers with bipartisan support, and Governor Lamont vetoed it and instead issued a water-downed executive order that does not do enough to protect incarcerated people. 

Our Apprentice Organizer, Sir Gaston, and member at the Capital for the Start of Session, 2.9.2022

Our member Tammy Jones spoke at the action yesterday, here’s what she had to say:

“It is time to hold Governor Lamont and the Department of Corrections accountable for the continued use of solitary confinement and extreme isolation on incarcerated people. An executive order is only as good as the paper it is written on and does not do nearly enough to protect incarcerated people from the torturous conditions of solitary. We have no choice but to pass the PROTECT Act during the 2022 legislative session. People going to prison should not be sentenced to inhuman conditions and death. STOP ignoring our voices and act NOW to save lives.”

Click here to see photos and highlights from yesterday’s action!


Free Them Now CT

Over the weekend, we joined the New Britain Racial Justice Coalition and other community groups for an action outside the headquarters of the Connecticut Department of Corrections to demand Governor Lamont do more to protect incarcerated people from COVID-19. Here is a quote from our member Lynn Ofori:

“I’m here as a mother, a Hartord-Native, and as a concerned community member. It’s been 2 years and there still isn’t a comprehensive or transparent plan to handle COVID-19 in the Connecticut Department of Corrections. As a person who has family and friends who’ve been incarcerated, I think about the lack of care they would receive if they were currently locked up during this pandemic. It is our responsibility as community members to tell the Governor and the DOC to address this crisis effectively. We need to use our power and agency to urge the Governor to create a legitimate plan to #FreeThemNowCT.”

Take action here to demand that Governor Ned Lamont implement a comprehensive and transparent COVID-19 response plan in the Connecticut DOC. 



CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call Recap

Last week, we hosted our  CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call. We had a lively discussion within the field about next steps to defend and push for more criminal justice at the state capital during the short session.

Our speakers included:

  • John Bailey II, lobbyist updates from the start of the legislative session.
  • Shanelle Morris, Grow Hartford spoke about their 10 Slices of Justice Campaign to provide quality food for young people in Hartford.
  • Haddiyyah Ali, Abolition Ummah spoke about the release of Yusuf Kadhafi and their work to support incarcerated Muslims in Connecticut.
  • Alicia Strong, New Britain Racial Justice Coalition discussed their recent action on COVID-19 behind bars in Connecticut
  • Kathy Flaherty and Sheldom Toubman, CT Legal Rights Project & Disability Rights CT discussed the recent agreement with Gov. Lamon to provide N95 masks and rapid tests to vulnerable populations. 

Register for our next CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call, on Thursday, March 3 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.

If you have any questions about the statewide call or would like to be a presenter on the call, please contact Kenyatta at kenyatta@katalcenter.org.


Katal Quotes of the Week

“I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than to believe, to inquire rather than to confirm.” — Septima Poisette Clark

“You can’t build a machine without nuts and bolts.” — Shel Trap



Katal works to strengthen the people, policies, institutions, and movements that advance health, equity, and justice for everyone. Join us: web, Twitter, Facebook! Email: info@katalcenter.org. Phone: 646.875.8822.

Be safe as possible out there, and get vaccinated as soon as you can. If you want to get involved, learn more about our work, or just connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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